Exclusivity and Arrogance
by Greg Reeves
In our postmodernist/relativist/pluralistic culture, much has been made about the exclusive truth claims of Christianity. A common complaint about this claim is that Christians are arrogant to say that only they know the truth, and that only through their God can people go to heaven. With this complaint, the implication is that Christianity is therefore untrue. This criticism of Christianity’s exclusivism is totally understandable, as exclusive claims do not sit well in our culture. But at its core, this criticism completely lacks logical/reason-based support.
A summary of my points
Here are three reasons why this argument has no ground to stand on (note: the first two were inspired by a recent WLC podcast that I listened to, although I had heard these arguments before. I claim the final argument as my own musings):
- It is a classic example of the logical fallacy called an “ad hominem” attack: whether or not someone is arrogant has nothing to do with whether their claims are true.
- It is a double-edged sword: people criticizing the claims of Christianity based on their exclusivity are often religious pluralists, and pluralism is itself an exclusive truth-claim.
- It is actually arrogant to deny God: when there is ample evidence that a creator-God made the universe and humanity itself, to claim that we have figured out there is no God (or that we don’t need our creator-God) is quite an arrogant claim.
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For the interested reader, below I go into more detail about each of these three points.
It is an ad hominem attack
The heart of this argument is that someone who is claiming Jesus is the only way is arrogant, and therefore, you can discount their claim. However, put this way, this argument clearly holds no water. Just because someone is arrogant is absolutely no reason to consider their claim to be false. I could be the most arrogant person in the world, but I could also be completely right about things. There are probably plenty of really arrogant professors out there who know their own field of research really, really well. The fact that they are arrogant does nothing to discredit the truth of what they say…
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